As I sit in front of my laptop, running my fingers through my winter beard and wondering if spring has really arrived, I find myself doing a lot of thinking…
Of course that’s nothing new to me. My mind is usually on overdrive. But there’s one topic in particular that has been traveling round and round in my brain these days.
For those of you who really know me, you know that I’ve been going through a lot lately. There are some times in life that are simply more complicated than others and, when you find yourself going through those times, it can open your eyes to see things a bit more clearly.
I know that I’m meant to write. That’s never been in doubt, ever since my mom paid me $1.00 for my short story “Quentin and Blentin”, written (with illustrations) when I was six. But, in addition to writing, there’s the matter of figuring out just how to give back and help others with what we do with our lives. And…that’s what I’ve been deeply thinking about lately.
I’ve volunteered at animal shelters and would recommend that to anyone. But that hasn’t been enough and I’ve been thinking bigger…
There’s one animal shelter located here in this county and, while they seem to do a very good job, they’re small. So there’s a limit to all the good they can accomplish. And, shortly before I moved to this area, the local SPCA was shut down, leaving a definite void. So..I’d love to build my own rescue.
Graham wasn’t a fan of dogs, other cats, birds, snakes, squirrels, or basically all animals he met other than moles and groundhogs for some reason, so it might be a bit strange to build an animal rescue in his memory, but his loss definitely triggered a passion in me to do more. Much more.
This is where it gets complicated though…
If I do it, I want to do it right. And large… I’ve worked out so many of the details and know that it would be a massive project. I’d want to build on at least 20 acres, and build a campus -type facility with multiple buildings (and the ability to build more if they would be needed later.
The dogs would live in structures that would mimic small houses that would allow them more comfort while they waited to be adopted and to also get strays used to living in that type of environment.
There would be an exercise/training course area where their confidence could be built and large dog runs for them to enjoy.
I have someone in mind to discuss plans for setting up multiple areas for cats to live comfortably and where people can meet them and interact with them. And, with so many feral cats living in the area, I’d have an ongoing CNR (Catch, Neuter, Return) program established to control the cat population in the county.
After all, if I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it right.
Of course that means millions of dollars for land and construction. Dozens of volunteers and people who are knowledgeable and passionate enough to foster. A small group of people to serve on the board of directors and a large network of veterinarian clinics. A staff to ensure the animals are fed, kept clean, walked, trained, shown love, etc. Corporate and individual donors, food, litter, toys, vehicles for rescue and transport… Especially since every time I see a notice online about an animal who is scheduled to be euthanized unless they’re rescued I want to hop in the car and go get it, no matter where it’s at. You get the idea. It’s a major project that I have in mind.
Every penny that I would receive from sales of Graham’s ‘autobiography’ could go into the rescue, but there would need to be fundraisers, donor drives, t-shirt sales, etc. And that’s where I’d need to come up with a great name for the rescue that would look great on merchandise, for people all over the country to want and purchase…
I have a few crazy ideas at this point that could help get it off the ground. And, even though I know raising millions to start what would be the biggest rescue in this part of the country would be a massive challenge, it would be a true labor of love. And the most important part of the project now is to find the people who would want to be a part of this with me. The world of animal rescue isn’t easy, but for those who are passionate about it, all of the struggle is worth it. So I hope to start out by finding the right team to work with.
I’ve already got an idea for the lobby of the visitor center in mind. This painted on the wall for everyone to see…
For Graham… He didn’t like other animals but his love inspired every the rescue of every animal here